Localization of the O-GlcNAc transferase and O-GlcNAc-modified proteins in rat cerebellar cortex

Yoshihiro Akimoto, Frank I. Comer, Robert N. Cole, Akihiko Kudo, Hayato Kawakami, Hiroshi Hirano, Gerald W. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a ubiquitous nucleocytoplasmic protein modification that has a complex interplay with phosphorylation on cytoskeletal proteins, signaling proteins and transcription factors. O-GlcNAc is essential for life at the single cell level, and much indirect evidence suggests it plays an important role in nerve cell biology and neurodegenerative disease. Here we show the localization of O-GlcNAc Transferase (OGTase) mRNA, OGTase protein, and O-GlcNAc-modified proteins in the rat cerebellar cortex. The sites of OGTase mRNA expression were determined by in situ hybridization histochemistry. Intense hybridization signals were present in neurons, especially in the Purkinje cells. Fluorescent-tagged antibody against OGTase stained almost all of the neurons with especially intense reactivity in Purkinje cells, within which the nucleus, perikaryon, and dendrites were most intensely stained. Using immuno-electron microscopic labeling, OGTase was seen to be enriched in euchromatin, in the cytoplasmic matrix, at the nerve terminal, and around microtubules in dendrites. In nerve terminals, immuno-gold labeling was observed around synaptic vesicles, with the enzyme more densely localized in the presynaptic terminals than in the postsynaptic ones. Using an antibody to O-GlcNAc, we found the sugar localizations reflected results seen for OGTase. Collectively, these data support hypothesized roles for O-GlcNAc in key processes of brain cells, including the regulation of transcription, synaptic vesicle secretion, transport, and signal transduction. Thus, by modulating the phosphorylation or protein associations of key regulatory and cytoskeletal proteins, O-GlcNAc is likely important to many functions of the cerebellum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 21 2003


  • Cerebellum
  • O-GlcNAc transferase
  • O-GlcNAcylation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Post-translational modification
  • Purkinje cell
  • Signaling
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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